Beer Review Guide

At 8-Bit Beerblog, we recognize that brewing good beer does not happen by accident. Craft beer is born from the marriage of technical process and flavour art. We want to support the craft beer industry and its efforts, not tear it down or criticize. As such, when we review a beer we don’t use an arbitrary rating system based on a personal preference scale that is always changing.

Instead we give an open and honest appraisal of our experience at the time of drinking the brew. When we review a beer, we look at the following:

  1. Packaging: It’s the first thing that we see in the store and it influences our purchasing decisions and perception of the brew.
    For reviewing, we look at originality and attractiveness.
  2. Appearance: How does the brew look when poured? For reviewing, we look at colour, clarity, carbonation and head retention.
  3. Aroma: Taste begins with the first scent.
    For reviewing, we smell for these attributes:

    • Malts: Descriptive terms—Caramel, bread, hay, cereal, chocolate, coffee, nuts, toast, roasty
    • Hops: Descriptive terms—Resin, floral, grass, spruce, citrus, herbs
    • Yeast/Bacteria: Descriptive terms—Doughy, barnyard, cheese, basement aromas, leather, earthy, leaves
    • Other: Descriptive terms—Alcohol, banana, bubble-gum, butterscotch, clove, cooked vegetables, cough drop, ginger, licorice, raisin, rotten eggs, soy sauce, skunky, smoke, vanilla, woody
  4. Taste: What’s the first sip like?  Is it sweet, bitter or sour? Any flavour sensations across the tongue? What is the mouth-feel, aftertaste, and flavour after the beer warms?
    For reviewing we look for the presence of these flavours:

    • Acetaldehyde: Green apple-like aroma and flavour.
    • Alcoholic: The aroma, flavour, and warming effect of ethanol and higher alcohols (think vodka straight, no chaser).
    • Astringent: Lingering harshness.
    • Diacetyl: Butter, butterscotch, or toffee aroma and flavour. Sometimes perceived as slickness.
    • DMS (dimethyl sulfide): Sweet, cooked, or canned corn-like aroma and flavour.
    • Estery: Aroma and/or flavour of fruits or roses.
    • Grassy: Aroma and/or flavour of grass or leaves.
    • Light: Skunky flavour from exposure to UV.
    • Metallic: Tastes like tin, copper, or iron.
    • Musty: Stale or moldy aromas/flavours.
    • Oxidized: Stale, papery, or sherry-like aromas and flavours.
    • Phenolic: Spicy (clove, pepper, etc.), smoky, plastic or medicinal aroma/flavour.
    • Solvent: Aroma and flavours of higher alcohols. Similar to acetone or lacquer thinner.
    • Sour/acidic: Tartness in aroma and flavour.
    • Sulfur: Aroma of rotten eggs or burning matches.
    • Vegetal: Cooked, canned, or rotten vegetable aroma and flavour (cabbage, asparagus, etc.)
    • Yeasty: A bready or sulfur like aroma or flavour.
  5. Uniqueness: How well does it represent the style? Does it follow a style? Does it inspire innovation by creating its own style?
  6. Cost and availability: How much does it cost and where can it be found? Is it a fair price? Is it a limited release or a regular attraction?
  7. Summary: Our final thoughts about the brew.
  8. Achievement!: In keeping with our video game theme, we award achievements (often silly and nonsensical).

drink beer

 
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